Following an alleged plan by Governor Abiola Ajimobi too impose his loyalists as candidates in the forthcoming council election in Oyo State, scores of members of All Progressive Congress, APC, in the state yesterday stormed the party secretariat at Number 1, Obafemi Awolowo road, Oke-Ado, Ibadan, to protest it.
According to Nigerian Tribune, the protesters who came with representatives from all the local government areas in the state were chanting ‘no primary election, no election’, ‘no primary election, no APC’ also carried placards to press home their agitations.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “we shall resist any form of daylight robbery”, “on our party constitution we stand”, “This party belongs to us all”, “APC is our common heritage and not a single individual property”, “Let our charity begins at home”, “No primary election, no LG election”, “Baba Oke, don’t destroy our party”, “No consensus, we want primary”, “Oyegun, please save the soul of the party in Oyo”, “We say no to imposition”,”Please state exco don’t kill the party”, “let there be internal democracy” among others.
Speaking with journalists, Honourable Kamorudeen Kayode Obisesan from Egeda local government who spoke on behalf on behalf of the protesters said the exercise was a demonstration of grievances of most members of APC in Oyo state towards the ‘unfortunate experience of the imposition of candidates’ for the forthcoming local government in Oyo state.
Before resulting to open protest against their party, Obisesan informed that the aggrieved members had accessed all internal organs of communication available within the party. This, he said included a letter of protest and communique issued by Concerned members of the party signed by its chairman; Chief Abolade Akinyemi, Alhaji Gani Alade and the secretary, Barrister Osuolale M. Ishola-Asanke
He said the letter submitted was also attached with a copy of the communique held on February 9 where the same issue was discussed.
In the letter of protest entitled “Re:Oyo state local government election”, submitted to the party office by Obisesan on behalf of the protesting members and addressed to the party chairman in the state and copied the national chairman of the Party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, national leader of the party, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the three senators elected under the platform of the party in the state.
The letter of protest was covering letter to a particular communique issued by concerned members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) alleging that the governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in conjunction with some members in the state have concluded arrangement to impose some candidates on the party members for the election.
It protest letter reads: “consequent upon the meeting of the concerned APC members in the eleven local government councils and Local Council Development Areas held on February 9, 2018 and in furtherance of a similar letter written by the Oke-Ogun elders of APC recently submitted to your office, as regard the above caption, attached herewith is a communique forming the outcome of the said meeting.”
“However, we are quick to stress that we have absolute and implicit confidence in the performance and ability of the State executive council of the APC in steering the ship of the leadership of our great party in Oyo state. Hence, our full support for the state executive in executing the laudable programmes of our great party is guaranteed and not negotiable.”
The communique of the concerned party members from the eleven local government further raised alarm “over an alleged imposition of candidates for the forthcoming local government election scheduled for May 12, 2018, in Oyo state.
“The group observed that the governor in conjunction with some few party members had concluded the secret plan of imposing candidates for the forthcoming Local government election, an act which is against article seven (xi) of the party’s constitution; that actively condemn and resist all forms of oppression and exploitation of Nigerians.
“And equally against article 20 (iv) (c) on the criteria for nomination, which states that “. . . an aspirant seeking nomination shall become the candidates of the party if he or she scores a simple majority of the valid vote cast at the primary election.
“Furthermore, the group observed that within few days to the February 14 2018 deadline stipulated by the Oyo state Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) for party primaries, the party has not released the timetable to show when the party –APC, primaries will hold, in all the 33 Local Government Councils, Local Council Development Areas and wards in the state.
“It was also alleged that the Governor for complicity and the orchestrated move had perfected a plan to impose his cronies and his group which has been the only group raffishly enjoying the real dividend of democracy in Oyo state, since the inception of this administration from May 2011 till date.
“Moreover, information at our disposal confirmed that names of would-be candidates for the chairmanship and councillorship in the 33 Local Government Councils, Local Council Development Areas have been secretly compiled and approved without any conduct of primaries just waiting for the submission to OYSIEC. This action is devoid of internal democracy and unacceptable.
“Therefore, the APC concerned group in the 11 local government councils in Ibadanland resolutely plead that the state executive should forthwith release the timetable for the forthcoming local government election and equally that the party primaries be conducted in accordance with article 20 of the party’s constitution.”
The Concerned members further enjoined members of the state executive not to “compromise the provision of the party’s constitution and equally wish the leadership of the party to dissociate themselves from the gross abuse of power about to be perpetrated in the state.”
When contacted, the secretary of the party, Alhaji Mojeed Olaoya told newsmen that the chairman of the party, Chief Akin Oke will react at the appropriate time.
In an interview with journalists, Obisesan said “we’re here today to let the people know what is going on in our party in the state. Some of us purchased nomination forms for the party primaries for the coming local government election but up to this present hour, there is no guideline from the party to point to this.
“We have also asked the party chairman in the state, Chief Akin Oke to follow the constitution of the party and roll out the guidelines for the primary. We equally stated that the party hierarchy should never consider handpicking of candidates that we want a primary election. We promise to abide by the result of the party primary, we love this party and we are ready to abide by the outcome of any process executed in line with the constitution of the party.”
Asked if the members had any hint that the party executive in the state have delved into the process of picking candidates as against the party constitution the members are now voicing against, Obisesan said some traces in the last few days made them consider expressing their view in the full glare of the public.
According to him, “before the last governorship election, Governor Abiola Ajimobi assured that there would not be any group in Oyo APC again. But today, a particular group, SENACO (Senator Ajimobi Campaign Organisation) have taken over after the election despite the promise made to us by the governor. He is now empowering the SENACO group while he has abandoned the Lamist (a group named after the former governor of the state-Lam Adesina), PDP reform group among others.
“The party hierarchy and the governor promised free and fair primary but now, things have been turned upside down. The party is not being run as a party for everybody alone. It is being controlled by an individual person as a personal business.”
They called on the party chairman in the state, Chief Akin Oke to roll out party guidelines in the direction of conduction party primary. He said, “That’s what we’re asking Chief Akin Oke now to bring out the guidelines of the party and to let us know when we will conduct the primary before the election.”
He said “We have been trying all our best to correct the anomalies but they refused, the reason why we put it in black and white this time around. We will not allow imposition. Our main concern is the constitution of the party which we consider as being supreme. We want Nigerians to know is mature. We won’t tolerate handpicking of candidates. Such practice in the past has not taken us to anywhere. We have seen such occasions where candidates that emerged from such processes were never used to their constituencies. We want people that will be picked by the party members that we know his or her character to represent us. The party belongs to all of us.”